Fire Warden Training

So, you have been asked to be the warden for your business and don’t know where to start?

Here we will help you along the way. We will help you determine the number you need, the positions you need, what is required for training and identification and all the other details needed.

So, where to start? In Australia, Australian Standard 3745-2010 (AS 3745-2010) identifies these details. This includes the following:

Identification of who needs to put this together (Emergency Planning Committee – EPC)
Who the staff members should be in the roles (Emergency Control Organisation – ECO)
The development of the emergency plan (including procedures and evacuation diagrams) to work to
Emergencies you should be trained in that may occur at your workplace

Titles you will hear or have read about include the following:

CHIEF WARDEN

The person who takes control in the event of an emergency, and this person liaises with emergency services upon their arrival. This role is the top role in the ECO structure. It maybe you, or someone else.

WARDEN

The person or people who are to ensure that the staff at the site follow directions in the event of an emergency. You will direct staff members to the safest exit and assembly area, and report back to the Chief Warden that your area is clear. Depending on the business setup you have, you may have floor/area wardens assisting.

First Aid Officers

The people who will render first aid to staff who have become injured before, during or after the evacuation (these people should be separate to the wardens so they can assist in one area only and not try to evacuate people during the emergency)

Communications Officer

This person will communicate with the warden s, floor/area wardens and report back to the Chief Warden any issues (these issues can be people trapped, people refusing to evacuate, or that you have cleared your area). You usually find a communications officer in larger businesses.

You will learn about your role and the responsibilities that come with it. Did you know, that in an emergency, your role as a warden (or member of the ECO team) overrules your management structure? That means that you can tell your superiors that they need to leave and listen to you. Another note about being a warden is that it is a voluntary role. One of the first things you will learn in the role of a warden is life safety takes precedence over building assets. If the emergency is severe enough that it will stop you from trying to evacuate other people, you need to remove yourself. You are no use to any of your colleagues if you are injured. This is when you relay back to your Chief Warden that you were unable to clear your area, or that there are people trapped where you were located.
You will learn about your role and the responsibilities that come with it. Did you know, that in an emergency, your role as a warden (or member of the ECO team) overrules your management structure? That means that you can tell your superiors that they need to leave and listen to you. Another note about being a warden is that it is a voluntary role. One of the first things you will learn in the role of a warden is life safety takes precedence over building assets. If the emergency is severe enough that it will stop you from trying to evacuate other people, you need to remove yourself. You are no use to any of your colleagues if you are injured. This is when you relay back to your Chief Warden that you were unable to clear your area, or that there are people trapped where you were located.
Do you know all the different types of emergencies that can occur in a workplace? Here is a list, did you think of these? You will see it is not just fire that wardens need to deal with:
Communications during an emergency can be in several forms. You may have Warden Intercommunication Phones (WIPs) located throughout your business, or you may use your internal telephone system. Some businesses will use two-way radios, or depending on your site, you may use a runner system. We will go through all these different methods with you so you know which to use and what you have in place. Remember though, that if there is a bomb threat that using a mobile phone is not a good idea.
Communications during an emergency can be in several forms. You may have Warden Intercommunication Phones (WIPs) located throughout your business, or you may use your internal telephone system. Some businesses will use two-way radios, or depending on your site, you may use a runner system. We will go through all these different methods with you so you know which to use and what you have in place. Remember though, that if there is a bomb threat that using a mobile phone is not a good idea.
Do you know where your assembly area is? Have you walked there yourself? Have you got any concerns regarding its location that you should bring up with the other members of your warden team? Do you know that in the event of a bomb threat, you would use a different assembly area that the Chief Warden will nominate? Or did you know that if you are in a lockdown/shelter in place you won’t leave to go to our outside assembly area. We will discuss these areas with you, and if conducting the training onsite, will go to these areas when we conduct your evacuation exercise.
We will let you know where your Chief Warden will be located during an emergency (this is called your emergency control point). In the event that you don’t have a Chief Warden or that the Chief Warden is absent, you may have to stand in for their role until emergency services arrive?
We will also show you how to use the portable fire equipment located at your business and around you. We will show you the different types of fire extinguishers, and which fires they should be used on and which they shouldn’t. We will also explain the importance of the correct equipment and signage around your workplace. The last thing you want to do is pick up a water extinguisher to put out an electrical fire. We will show you how to use a fire blanket (and this will also assist you at home if you have a fire blanket), and the use of hose reels. If you have any other emergency equipment such as an eye wash station, spill kits or emergency showers, we will show you how to use these as well.

Without the training in your workplace, mayhem can occur. Who do you listen to? Where do you go? What if you are injured? These are things that you do not want to encounter in an emergency. You want to know you have trained staff members who know their full role & responsibility in the emergency to assist all onsite. Did you know that after some emergency situations, Safe Work Australia can become involved? They can request all the details of training sessions conducted, emergency plan procedures and evacuation diagrams. If you are unable to provide this information, your workplace may be fined and even shut down.

Consider the following events that have occurred, and what you may have done if you were not trained:

  • Flooding situation in Sydney in early 2021
  • Bushfires during 2019 – 2020
  • Severe storm cells over the past six months
  • Melbourne protests
  • Melbourne earthquake
  • Disgruntled former employee

This is where having your training up to date and current is so important.

Now to the nitty-gritty…

There are no rules to say that fire warden training is mandatory for your workplace however AS3745-2010 is generally accepted as the benchmark for planning for workplace emergencies, responding to emergencies and the associated workplace training.

The Safe Work Australia website states that “Businesses must prepare an Emergency Plan”. Section 43 of the WHS Regulations, states an employer or “person conducting the business or undertaking” (PCBU) must prepare and maintain an emergency plan (this applies to fires, explosions and harmful events relating to harmful gases and hazardous chemicals).

We have mentioned the emergency plan in the warden training. The emergency plan is a resource for staff and other occupants to use in emergency situations. The plan will detail the emergency response procedures and instructions for a variety of situations. Part of this plan provides for training of staff and other occupants in emergency procedures. We can assist you with creating an emergency plan if you do not already have one in place for your business.

AS3745-2010 states that the ECO members (wardens) shall attend a skills retention activity at intervals no greater than 6 months. These activities are determined by the EPC and are based on the requirements of the business and the emergency plan. Skills retention activities may include table-top and evacuation exercises.

We are all passionate about the safety of us and others. We want to see everyone go home each night to their family, safely. We all come with a lot of industry experience in fire & emergency response. We are members of the NSW RFS, SES and Scouts. We have all worked in this area of expertise on a paid and voluntary basis and bring with us the knowledge that will assist you perform your role as a warden for your workplace. All our staff members are qualified Fire Safety Advisors.

We cover educational facilities including childcare centres, schools, and universities. We cover the aged care sector, industrial sector. Small and large corporations, startup businesses and every other industry that has not been named above.

For the aged care sector, we work with Australian Standard 4083 Planning for emergencies – health care facilities (AS4083), and also follow the regulations for Queensland under Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

So, how can Workplace Emergency Management help you?

You can call or email our office and a subject matter expert (SME) can answer any questions you may have if they have not been answered above. We can also arrange a proposal to provide the training for you. If an emergency plan is also required, we can provide this, along with evacuation diagrams to make your emergency plan obligations compliant. We keep a record of all staff trained, and when training is due again. And when changes occur, we are proactive and let you know of the changes.

Now is the time to call, so we can help you in on your journey to become a warden.

CALL OUR FRIENDLY TEAM

Workplace Emergency Management is based in Sydney, however, we service all of Australia so contact us today to improve your emergency management procedures and resources, and prepare your people to confidently handle any emergency situation.

Call us on 1300 831 694 to discuss your needs with one of our consultants today or use the quick contact form to request a quote.

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